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Neighborhood market faces foreclosure

Original post made on Sep 19, 2011

Hassan Bordbari sat in a chair in the floral section of his Barron Park Market and Florist eating lentil soup out of a battered pot for his lunch. Bordbari, 58, opened the floral shop 27 years ago and the market in 2007, with high hopes of filling a gap and serving the community after another neighborhood grocer, The American Market, closed, he said. But these days his spirit is feeling as battered as the bean pot from which he ate.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, September 18, 2011, 3:08 PM

Comments (9)

Posted by saleha, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 19, 2011 at 1:05 am

I understand what he is going through, but every time I have gone there everything is stale. Fruits and vegetables are bad. I don't know, but it seems even though he is paying what he is for the place, unless you can offer fresh produce then people are going to stay away. Harsh truth I know, but bread and everything else there is stale. I go there as a last resort.


Posted by Too much traffic, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 19, 2011 at 7:16 am

""Although we rarely shop there it still is useful to have a market in the neighborhood within walking distance of most of Barron Park and Ventura."
Well, doesn't that explain it all. If the neighborhood residents do not support this place, who will?? We certainly wouldn't want cars driving there to shop, that would create too much traffic.

"Unfortunately it's hard for small markets to be competitive with the giants like Safeway and Raley's"
But, Palo Alto has addressed this issue previously with JJ&F. Pass a rule that grocery stores in Palo Alto cannot be bigger than Barron Park Market. Of course current stores will have to downsize, but that is the price we pay for living in Palo Alto--micromanagment of the economic market.
If only this place were in College eTerrace


Posted by Tom, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 19, 2011 at 11:23 am

Maybe he should forget about doing his own produce and host a small farmers' market?


Posted by Hmmm...., a resident of Greater Miranda
on Sep 19, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Hmm...maybe take some of the leftover fresh fruits and veggies from the Los Altos famers mkt Saturdays, so people know he has very fresh produce all weekend.. maybe do boxes people can pick up? He has to create some kind of a draw so people stop by even when they don't need something badly -- a walking destination the way The Sweet Shop is....


Posted by Frank, a resident of Ventura
on Sep 19, 2011 at 1:44 pm

I shop there sometimes - I don't think his produce is bad, it's just that he doesn't have the kind of volume to have a good enough turnover.

- hosting his own farmers market is the same problem, if you don't have the volume you won't have the farmers for very long.

- Truly this is a case where we want a small local shop to be available but we want to shop at Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Safeway or Walmart. Even if his prices were the same as Walmart he just can't fit the selection into that space (and if you could the neighbors would certainly not allow the parking).

He's a good guy - I hate to see him in distress but All American closed because they weren't making enough money and they were much bigger than his store.


Posted by Maria, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 19, 2011 at 3:44 pm

I shopped there once, I bought a package of kraft cheese and when I got home and opened it, I discovered the mold, so I returned it. Also, if you look of his name in the criminal and civil case indices you will find five or six criminal cases in the nineties, with the latest in y2k and over thirty civil cases from the eighties until the latest in 2010. You can see the civil cases on the county court index...free public info....the criminal cases are also public, but you must go to the courthouse to view.


Posted by understand, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 19, 2011 at 8:29 pm

The store is basically disgusting. The "floral" shop abuts the "market" and both are dirty and crowded with junk. If one wants to compete in this difficult economic time, one must strive to do their best. This is clearly not the case with the Barron Park Market. I am surprised that this business is still in business.


Posted by Fruit Stand, a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 20, 2011 at 12:03 am

""Although we rarely shop there it still is useful to have a market in the neighborhood within walking distance of most of Barron Park and Ventura."

This is SO typical of the typical Palo Alto "shopper". It's "convenient" to have someone nearby, just in case Costco is closed, or "I need a quart of milk", etc. This is the attitude that has brought down most of the small markets in Palo Alto.

and...

"I think we all would be very sad to see them go. Unfortunately it's hard for small markets to be competitive with the giants like Safeway and Raley's," Bob Moss, who has been keeping an eye on recent retail closures along El Camino near Barron Park, said in an email to the Weekly."

This has to be one of the most ironic comments in these forum threads I've seen in a long time, because Mr. Moss and several others have lobbied long and hard to force retail solutions in Palo Alto into a box of their own design - even though not a one of them have ever been retailers. Just look at the Alma Plaza, Edgewood, JJ&F, etc. etc scenarios

Just look at the revenue that Palo Alto has given up to Mt View, in large scale retail. Has Costco or any other large-scale retailer caused as much blight as the delays caused by those, like Mr. Moss, who have kept retail venues like Alma Plaza, the disgraceful Park Ave, Edgewood Plaza, and other retail projects from achieving full potential. Can you even begin to imagine what hell some retailers at the upcoming Alma Plaza are going to have to go through because the developer was forced to design in *non-front-facing* retail into some Alma Plaza retail space. Just absurd!

The sad thing is that Mr. Moss and others who agree with him mean well. An even sadder thing is that careful studies of Palo Alto's retail dynamics have always been dominated by long-embedded retailers and City Hal departments who have been all-too-cozy, for years. Result? A boring retail scene in Palo Alto, and one that is largely unsustainable for the mom-and-pop retailer.

My heart goes out to Mr, Bordbari; he like many, many restauranteurs and retailers in Palo Alto have been seduced by the "potential" to make a go of it, without knowledge of the historical dynamics that have made Palo Alto a hell hole for the unwary business person who comes here.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 20, 2011 at 10:38 am

Isn't this the same guy who said that the Health Care Bill of Obama would help him stay in business because "he couldn't afford insurance for his employees"?

Don't misunderstand. I am sorry he is going out of business. I don't wish that on anyone. But I suspect there were and are more reasons than we know. I wonder how many stopped buying there because we figured he wanted to soak us for his responsibilities?


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